New details emerge in ‘ambush’ of Biloxi police officer

Witnesses and family members helped identify Darian Atkinson as the suspect

New details emerge in ‘ambush’ of Biloxi police officer
Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen was a 24-year veteran of the police force.

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Court documents reveal new details in what police are calling an ambush of a Biloxi police officer.

Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen was a 24-year veteran of the police force.
Biloxi Police Officer Robert McKeithen was a 24-year veteran of the police force.

Officer Robert McKeithen died Sunday night after he was gunned downed outside the Biloxi Police Department headquarters.

Police arrested Darian Atkinson on a charge of capital murder, identifying him as the man responsible for killing McKeithen.

Court documents say a man, who police have identified as Atkinson, walked behind the officer and fired multiple rounds, ultimately striking the officer. The document then says the suspect ran north through the parking lot and out of view of the camera.

Darian Atkinson, 19, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of a Biloxi police officer.
Darian Atkinson, 19, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of a Biloxi police officer.

Police said before the shooting, video surveillance captured Atkinson entering the station wearing a black T-shirt, navy blue shorts and a rolled up red skull beanie with dark high tops. Court documents say investigators learned of Atkinson’s identity through a tip, which came from Crime Stoppers. The tip identified him as the man seen in the surveillance footage.

Family members of Atkinson also told investigators they believed the man was Atkinson. They said they recognized the red hat seen in the footage.

On Monday, May 6 around 1:10 p.m. Gulfport detectives interviewed a witness who said he or she is an acquaintance of Atkinson. The witness told investigators the man was Darian Atkinson and he or she received a call from Atkinson around 4:20 a.m. and asked him why he did it, and he replied with an incriminating statement.

The court documents do not say what that statement was.

Darian Atkinson appeared in court May 8, 2019, on a charge of capital murder of a law enforcement officer.
Darian Atkinson appeared in court May 8, 2019, on a charge of capital murder of a law enforcement officer.

Atkinson was captured and arrested Monday night.

He made his first initial court appearance Wednesday morning before a judge at the Harrison County Jail. The judge officially read Atkinson his charges, discussed legal representation and the next steps.

Darian’s 21-year-old brother is also charged in the officer’s death. Davian Atkinson was formally charged with accessory after the fact in the officer’s death. Davian’s charge is because he is accused of transporting Darian and allowing him to make phone calls while he was on the run from police.

Darian is being held without bond because he is charged with capital murder. Davian has a bond set of $500,000.

Darian has been in trouble in the past, but Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said “there’s nothing that would indicate this” in reference to Darian’s past.

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